Seychelles sweeps up magnificently from the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean to stretch across a far-reaching archipelago of 115 islands. Nestled in the heart of Mahé (the largest and most populous island), along Mont Fleuri, lies an almost hidden jewel of an educational community called the International School, Seychelles. This institution has been a great motivator in supporting students to leap from the national to international arena.
Whilst many of the granite atolls remain uninhabited, in recent years the Seychelles has become famous across the world for its tropical palm trees and seemingly never ending golden beaches. These picture perfect vistas have secured its reputation as one of the most sought after premiere honeymoon destinations in the world for over a decade now. Losing themselves in lazy afternoon naps on the pristine sand or delving in and out of the sun kissed water; it is hard for many honeymooners to conceive that behind the scenes of their luxury holiday life goes on as normal for thousands of people working in such a remarkable locale all year round.
Whilst small in stature over the years the population of this tiny island republic has grown to just over 91,000 people, including expatriates, with citizens using the island as a springboard to establish successful, amazing, diverse careers in all corners of the globe. Thrillingly these days, the stirring and lilting tone of the Seychellois Creole patois can now be heard from as far afield as Victoria to Buenos Aires. Rumors fly around the petite island that there are more Seychellois living off island than on it and it’s not hard to believe this fact with citizens making a name for themselves all over the world.
International School Seychelles
Nestled in the heart of Mahé, along Mont Fleuri, lies an almost hidden jewel of an educational community called the International School Seychelles, which has been a great motivator in supporting students to leap from the national to international arena and take on, amazingly diverse careers around the world.
Now in its forty seventh year the International School Seychelles (ISS) was originally established on a smaller site in 1969 as a co-educational, non-profit organization. This small private school was initially created to provide a British-style education for children of expatriates, working in the Seychelles. In 1994 it threw its doors wide open and offered Seychellois children the chance to explore a UK based education. In the last 15 years, the school has grown and expanded to provide an all-through education for ages 3-19 years and currently has over 700 students which prompted a move to Mont Fleuri Road and the development of a new building.
ISS, a melting pot
The term melting pot society is often used to describe modern day 21st Century communities and this is a very apt description of the ISS. These days it is a truly international school with a student body consisting of over 42 different nationalities with 47% of the students coming from Seychelles itself. Located, as it is, in beautiful and stunning Seychelles, the students at ISS are extremely fortunate to have such an inspirational setting in which to study and play. The school is constantly evolving and developing to house an increasing student body and widening curriculum. Students make the most of the spaces in which they work and relax. The students at the school are talented, passionate and diverse. Together they create a warm, dynamic community with a multicultural team of staff who provide a range of learning experiences and extra-curricular activities second to none in the Seychelles.
The ISS Curriculum: academic and sporting
The curriculum is based on the UK National Curriculum and offers accredited learning programmes that are internationally recognized. The International General Certificate of Education (IGCSE) is taught in years 10-11 and Advanced Level (A level) is taught fr om years 12-13. All of these examinations are administered and accredited by the University of Cambridge, UK. The majority of our A level students proceed to undergraduate courses at colleges and Universities around the world on completion of their programme.
The ISS motto
The school’s motto sums up the nature of the school completely: ‘You are not born for yourself, but for the world.’ The accuracy of this statement is reflected in the international success of the students. Under the watchful eye and guiding hand of dedicated staff, the nurturing environment at the ISS has definitely encouraged students to aim high in their achievements and the school has had a rich pedigree of sporting success with students from the school representing the country at national and international level.
In recent years, it has been the ISS swimmers making the mark in both the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonw ealth Games. Aur elie Fanchette set the bar high with her inclusion in the 2012 Seychelles Olympic Swim Team quickly followed by Adam Viktora in the 2014 Commonwealth Swim Team. The school already has its eyes set on 2016 with the upcoming talents of Samuele Rossi and
Nicole Grassili-Barnes in Year 10.
The ISS family
The ISS is more than a school. It is a family and many Alumni still visit former teachers and support the school in its development and growth. As soon as you walk onto the lovely premises you are enveloped by a sense of community with staff offering a friendly welcome whilst the sounds of students playing in the school yard brings a smile to your face. Unlike many schools around the world, ISS students mix and mingle with friends of different ages and embrace each other’s traditions, phrases, colloquialisms and culture.
The same can be said of the parents collecting students from the school gates or chatting outside of classrooms to staff whilst their children pack up their bags. It is common for parents and teachers to wander past small groups of children from different countries enjoying their lunch whilst engaging in harmless kankan (gossip) over their sandwiches in a mix of pigeon Creole and their home language. The local culture, language and traditions bond the students together in a tight knit community as they are proud to live in Seychelles and delighted to be part of the ISS community.
The Pillay effect
This bond was cemented recently with the appointment of the school’s first ever Seychellois Principal, Margaret Pillay, in 2015. The employment of Mrs. Pillay was an exciting development for both the school and the national educational community and significantly saw the school more actively involved in the vibrant Seychelles community, engaged in national volunteering schemes, international staff training alongside state employed teachers and students from local schools participating in ISS educational courses.
When Mrs. Pillay first arrived at the school a parent commented to her that, ‘Sometimes it felt like parents needed a passport to enter the school property because it is so different to the rest of the country.’ Now that has changed thanks to the addition of a Seychellois pioneer who encourages the staff and students to go from strength to strength. The International School Seychelles is a school that embraces change, embodies the Creole spirit and welcomes visitors interested in looking around its campus. It truly encapsulates the nature of the island and spreads this feeling around the world when its alumni fly the nest.